A conference room at Roane State’s Morgan County campus has been named in honor of James Frank Wilson and Patricia Wilson for their support of the community college, including more than $250,000 in scholarships for students. From left: Roane State Foundation staff member Pamela Rudnitzki, Foundation board member James Frank Wilson, Patricia Ann Wilson, Foundation staff member Linda Brown, and Dr. Chris Whaley, president of Roane State Community College.
Nov. 20, 2019
By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer
A couple that has supported Roane State’s Morgan County campus since it opened its doors in 2008 was honored for ongoing support of the community college during a ceremony where the conference room was named in their honor.
That room just off the building’s main lobby is now the James Frank and Patricia Ann Wilson Conference Room. The Tennessee Board of Regents recently gave its approval to the move.
“You are changing lives and giving students a chance at a brighter future,” Roane State Community College President Chris Whaley told them. “Thank you for the difference you are still making.”
The Wilsons have donated more than $250,000 for scholarships for Roane State students through the Roane State Foundation. After a lifetime of making a living, Wilson said he and his wife are now making a difference through their giving to Roane State students.
“We believe our contributions to Roane State students give us the greatest return from our giving and create the greatest benefit to others. We’ve done this without any hesitation and without being asked,” said James Frank Wilson. “The students here are wonderful. They just need some help.” In 2017, he helped spearhead the successful launch of a fundraising drive for scholarships for Roane State students attending the Morgan County campus.
“You’re laying a great foundation for young people,” Matt Hudson, chief ranger of the Obed National Wild and Scenic River National Park, headquartered in Wartburg, told the Wilsons.
Hudson and Morgan County Executive Brian Langley were among several local dignitaries attending the Nov. 19 ceremony.
“It’s good to give back to the community,” Neal Richardson commented. He and his wife, Jeanne Richardson, are longtime Morgan County residents who have also been working with the Roane State Foundation to boost educational opportunities.
James Frank Wilson is the retired chairman and managing attorney at Wilson and Brooks, P.C. where he practiced law for more than 40 years. Wilson is the retired chairman and an organizer of the Citizens First Bank where he served from the inception of the bank in 1995 until its merger this year. He is presently chairman and president of W Group Properties, Inc. and Wilson Mineral Development, Inc.
He is the former president and treasurer of the Morgan County Bar Association, director of the Tennessee Oil and Gas Association, the Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, the Sunbright Bank and Trust Company, Rural Legal Services of Tennessee, the Peoples Bank and Trust Company and the Housing Development Corporation of the Clinch Valley.
Wilson is presently on the board of directors of the Roane State Foundation and its executive committee and is chairman of its investment committee. He is also a member of the Morgan County Site Support Team. He serves as a member and external vice president of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club and is vice president of its foundation.
Patricia Ann Wilson was a schoolteacher at Willow Brook Elementary School in Oak Ridge for 12 years. Over the years Mr. Wilson has taught chemistry and physics to college freshmen and business law to college seniors. The Wilsons have four children.
Roane State is a two-year college providing transfer programs, career-preparation programs and continuing education. Founded in 1971, the college has campuses in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Wartburg and Clinton.
For more information, visit roanestate.edu or call (865) 882-4554.
Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at www.roanestate.edu/reconnect.
For more information about the Roane State Foundation, call (865) 882-4507.
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